Hi everyone, Jen here, a proud member of Yvonne’s Team “Sole Mates” since 2017. I joined the team to support my amazing friend who is an outstanding cancer survivor. I had absolutely no idea what I had signed up for and little did I know that weekend was the introduction of a brand new family – Our Relay Family!
I will admit I didn’t know a lot about Relay for Life, all I knew was to turn up at 12pm on Saturday and I wasn’t going home until 12pm on Sunday, and not to forget the essentials: YMCA Costume, baked goods, blanket, camping chair, snacks, long handled lighter, toilet paper, glow sticks……talk about random!!!
When I turned up at Pairc Charman that Saturday, I cannot describe the buzz! The Relay Village was swarming with people made up of team members, members of the public, cancer survivors and all the fantastic volunteers and entertainers. The atmosphere was electric! Our team’s fundraiser was to sell tea, coffee, cakes, Tayto sandwiches and glow-sticks not to mention our famous Lucky Dip game. It was the best 24 hours, spent laughing, crying, singing and hugging, we experienced every emotion and to be a part of such a special event means the absolute world to me. From that weekend I was hooked and have been a huge fan of Relay for Life ever since.
The highlights of Relay to me are:
- The Opening Lap - seeing the number of cancer survivors walk that first lap is inspiring especially when we spot our own Sole Mate team members Yvonne and Dianne.
- The Fun Laps – great craic watching everyone dress up for the fun laps.
- The Entertainers – love listening to the talented musicians on stage, the likes of the Bride Street Choir, the fabulous Hayley Crosbie to name but a few and my personal favourite Ms. Biddy Walsh, Relay’s MC who keeps us entertained especially on Sunday mornings when we are fit for the bed!
- The Candle of Hope Ceremony – unless you have attended this ceremony, it is hard to describe how special it is. I talk above about the electric atmosphere and buzz, but when this ceremony starts with approx. 5,000 people on the pitch, walking in silence in memory of their lost loved ones, and in that moment you could hear a pin drop. So beautiful and overwhelming, the epitome of a community coming together to (in Relays words) Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.
So why do I Relay? Yes I Relay to help in the fight against cancer and to fundraise for the vital services provided by the Irish Cancer Society, but Relay for Life is so much more. I have met the most amazing people through Relay, I’ve made memories with my friends that will last a lifetime (especially at 5.30am when we are doing laps, delirious with tiredness). On top of that, it warms the heart to see so many people come together to do good, to help and support our Community, and I would urge anyone who wants to get involved to do so because you will not be disappointed.